Tickets withdrawn against men at Edmonton protest over COVID-19 restrictions

Tickets withdrawn against men at Edmonton protest over COVID-19 restrictions

EDMONTON — Two people who were given $1,200 tickets when they took part in protests at the Alberta legislature during the COVID-19 pandemic in May will not have to pay the fines.

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms says the Crown has withdrawn the tickets that were issued under the Public Health Act.

The centre says the men were protesting government restrictions put in place to protect against COVID-19 when they were escorted off the grounds and ticketed.

One of the men was also protesting the federal government’s firearms ban.

A 15-person cap on the size of groups was in place at the time to deal with the pandemic.

A similar ticket against another man was withdrawn last month.

The arrest of that man prompted Premier Jason Kenney at the time to say protesting is a “fundamental right.”

The centre says it has submitted complaints about the conduct of the provincial sheriffs who apprehended all three men.

“Many citizens are alarmed at the government response to COVID-19 and the resulting erosion of democracy and violation of constitutional rights,” James Kitchen, a lawyer with the centre, said in a release Thursday.

“The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects individuals’ freedom to peacefully assemble and express their opinions, especially at important symbolic locations such as the legislature grounds. This protection is even more vital during declared emergencies, to ensure citizen voices are heard and civil liberties preserved.”

This report was first published by The Canadian Press on Sept. 3, 2020

The Canadian Press

Coronavirus

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